image credit Christian Haugen
Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007; by 2009 it had spread around the world, becoming a very big deal everywhere but in the USA, where it never really caught on; even the website is empty and looks bogus. This year, the Australian organizers promise over a billion participants in 133 countries. A lot of press releases are flying round the internet, but something seems to be missing. This year the lights are going out not with a bang, but a whimper.
Three years ago in Toronto, ten thousand people turned up to hear Nelly Furtado sing "Turn out the light" at an Earth Hour concert in Toronto; last year a couple of hundred showed up; this year the concert is cancelled.
What's causing this Earth Hour Ennui?
Even on the official Australian site, they are confused, quoting the editor of GQ saying "It's time to just come out with it... I really don't give a toss about climate change. Actually, to be truthful, a couple of extra degrees wouldn't go unappreciated--cold weather is overrated." Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Perhaps compact fluorescent bulbs have become so popular that turning out a light doesn't quite have the impact that it once did. The Earth Hour organizers are trying, with a new site at Beyondthehour where they encourage you to " Take action to make our world a better place and share your act with the world."
I noted last year that Earth Hour really did make a difference in electricity consumption where I live, although the CO2 saved burning coal was probably offset by all the burning candles and people driving to Earth Hour events. But the symbolism was there.
What about you? Do you think Earth Hour is over?